We all know that in order to get in tip top shape and improve our health, we must increase our physical activity. Many personal trainers advise that we need to do some sort of aerobic activity to burn calories and help us get in shape.

What I've noticed is that many people don't want to conduct certain types of aerobic exercise for many reasons. Some say, "I don't like running or aerobic dancing because it hurts my knees". Others state, "I don't like riding the stationary bike because it's uncomfortable to my rear end (that's one of my excuses).

People even say things like, "I don't like the stair master or treadmill because they are boring (that's a common one). Well, you've heard people say that walking is a good exercise to do. I tend to agree with that theory. I love walking. I prefer walking over running. I run because I have to (you know, that PFT thing). However, I definitely prefer walking.

Today, I'm going to share some of the benefits of walking and go over some good tips to help maximize the amount of calories you burn while walking. Let's begin.

Here are a few mistakes people make when walking, and ways to correct the discrepancies:

Error: Improper posture.

Bad posture puts extra stress on joints, vertebrae, and muscles, causing pain.

Correction: Tuck your chin into your neck so your ear, shoulder, hip, and ankle form a straight line perpendicular to the ground when you're standing still. Try to maintain this posture when you walk.

Error: Not moving your arms.

You lose nearly half the exercise value of walking by not moving them.

Correction: Pump your arms. Bend your elbows slightly for regular walking, and 90 degrees for aerobic walking. Guide the arms straight forward and back, hands rising as far as the chest. You should look like those old pro wrestlers, The Bushwhackers. This pumping of the arms also helps lengthen your stride.

Error: Walking duck-footed (knees facing out) or pigeon toed (knees facing in).

This puts stress on the knees and ankles.

Correction: Walk with your feet parallel. And use the heel-toe roll. Land the heel first and turn the ankle out slightly (the width of a finger). Then roll on the outer edge of the foot until you reach the toe. This aligns the lower and upper leg.

These are just a few pointers to help you get the most out of walking. Remember, you get almost as much work from walking that you do from running. You just have to do it twice as long. The most comfortable pace to take is three miles per hour (3 mph). This is the recommended pace of the military, although I'm sure we've all experienced paces much faster (oh no, the death march!) during our time in the service. As you get more comfortable with walking, you can increase the pace to as much as four or five miles per hour and burns some mega calories.

What we need to do right now is go out and get a good comfortable pair of walking or running shoes (your preference) and get to stepping.

That's it from Semper Fitness this week. See you next time, but for now, stay pumped, stay motivated and OO-RAH!

Semper Fidelis!